Paradox and Power


Research on organizational paradoxes has established that actors who deal with paradoxes in a proactive, balancing manner (Lewis, 2000; Smith & Lewis, 2011) achieve better outcomes for themselves, their organizations and industry environments. Therefore, proactive paradox management, where the tension is accepted and both poles are treated equally, is to be favored over defensive paradox management, where one pole is neglected or the paradox is suppressed as a whole (Jarzabkowski et al., 2013; Jarzabkowski & LĂȘ, 2017).

However, this finding rests largely on the assumption that responsible actors have the agency and freedom choose proactive paradox management when facing tensions. As organizational settings come with hierarchies and power inequalities (Fleming & Spicer, 2014), recent research on the "dark side" of organizational paradoxes challenges this assumption (Berti & Simpson, 2021). Buyer-supplier relations in global supply chains, employee-supervisor relations, or donor-recipient relations are only few examples of contexts, where organizational power relations become visible.

This virtual workshop strives to explore the role of power in research on organizational paradoxes. To meet this goal, we will first have an expert panel discussion, followed by short presentations of working papers and feedback on selected extended abstracts.

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